The very idea of a devil, a personal and ultimate representative of evil is not very new. In fact, the Zoroastrians held that the god of light and wisdom, Ahuri-Mazda, waged a constant battle against his nemesis, Ahriman, the god of darkness and evil, in a quite protracted (never-ending) battle. I call this mythological phenomenon a Paired Polarity. One has to have to the one to render the other intelligible, as a way (only the two together do this) to explain human experience of both the good and the evil we see around us. Paired Polarities display what you might call a “package deal,” since the explaining intended needs to account for BOTH good and evil in the world, so every batman needs a joker, just as Thor needs Loki.
In the biblical galaxy, Jesus needs Lucifer in very important ways, since the latter is responsible for plunging the world into the darkness of sin. Consider this: on the Christian view, without the devil, Jesus would be out of work — we would not need redemption (without sin), and would not need Jesus. Without that fall, we would be living in a sin- and disease-free paradise. This means we would not need to cast out demons (See the Gospels on this ministry of Jesus), do miracles, be redeemed. And there would be no sins to forgive. Without the devil, there could have been no one to betray Jesus, or lead Judas to have Jesus executed — and thus no redemption would have obtained without the bad guys. This would, of course, render the Bible unintelligible itself, as well as unnecessary. Prophecy of a Messiah who does not need to save anyone from anything — has no reason to show up at all in history.
This proves that Jesus and Lucifer form a fairly standard kind of paired polarity. As mentioned before, these exist as a conceptual unit, and this should have suggested something rather important that even the skeptics among us have failed to notice. Satan is not an historical person — at least not to skeptics and scientific types, like Solomonic deists, Atheists, Agnostics, etc. This strongly suggests that Jesus is not historical either. The temptation accounts of Matthew and Luke show rather clearly the two as a single conceptual (literary) unit. Neither one has ever actually existed, and our suspicions about the bad guy in this mythic story should have sparked a like distrust of the other. There neither is nor was, an “historical Jesus,” any more than there was an historical Thor.
Our suspicions that the devil was a propped-up dummy of an sufficient explanation for the existence of evil (but then we also need the World, flesh and the devil as enemies to explain it — 1 John), should have hinted that the Bible actually offers 2 scarecrows (Jesus and Lucifer), not one only, to explain the scorched cornfields of human history.